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Military conducts first large-scale ‘Sentry Aloha’ fighter exercise of 2017

  • COURTESY PHOTO / AIRMAN 1ST CLASS STAN PAK

    F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Wing line the tarmac at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Aug. 17, 2016.

Oahu’s military is taking to the air in a big way through the end of the month.

The Hawaii Air National Guard said it would conduct its first large-scale “Sentry Aloha” fighter exercise of 2017 beginning today.

“Oahu residents, particularly along Oahu’s leeward coastline, may see an increase in military aircraft as they approach Honolulu International Airport for landing,” the Guard said in a release.

Sentry Aloha is an ongoing series of exercises hosted by the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing intended to provide training for homeland defense and missions overseas. The combat training will involve the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and other Department of Defense services.

Training in the airspace north and south of Oahu “allows for robust large force exercises with limited restrictions in favorable weather conditions, specifically during the winter months when many organizations experience a loss of training to adverse conditions,” the Hawaii National Guard said.

This Sentry Aloha will involve more than 1,000 personnel and more than 50 aircraft from eight other states. The exercise will run through the end of the month, with units returning to their home stations in early February.

Visiting units include tanker support from Utah and Tennessee, F-16 Falcons from Minnesota, F-18 Hornets from California and an E-3 Sentry from Oklahoma. The visiting aircraft will be taking part in simulated combat exercises with F-22 Raptors flown by the Hawaii Air Guard’s 199th Fighter Squadron and active duty 19th Fighter Squadron.

The Army, meanwhile, said those in the vicinity of Camp H.M. Smith can expect to see paratroopers in the air and hear helicopter noise during High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) parachute operations between 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters will be used.

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